WWF captures the first image of snow leopards’ cubs in Sarychat-Eertash nature reserve
WWF has been working on improving the biodiversity of the zapovednik since 2009. This included provision of photo and video cameras, field uniforms and computing equipment. In order to increase the reserve‘s staff capacity joint activities with international experts on monitoring of the snow leopards in the reserve were carried out. In 2011-2012 identification of DNA and other samples revealed that there must have been more than twenty snow leopards residing in the area. To increase the accuracy of the census the staff of the reserve were provided with, and trained in the use of ten photo cameras. These were the cameras that have recently captured the first photos of snow leopards’s family with two cubs in the region.
As with many other species, poachers constitute the main threat to snow leopards. Although, local shepherds also hunt snow leopards in order to protect their cattle. The development of new infrastructure and expansion of agricultural areas, as well as climate change, damage leopard’s habitat and thus also contribute to their extinction.
In October 2013 delegates of twelve countries as well as experts and donors from all around the world have formulated a global strategy and signed the declaration on conservation of snow leopards and their habitat.
Scientists estimate that there are less than seven and a half thousand snow leopards extant in the wild. The main objective of the global strategy is to concentrate on the protection of 20 key areas that are especially crucial for the conservation of the species. Each of these areas contains upwards of a hundred adult snow leopards. Another objective is promotion of sustainable development in the surrounding areas.
WWF works with partners to raise awareness at local, national and regional levels across the snow leopard range countries about the need to conserve the species. Together with the US Agency for International Development, WWF implements climate adaptation projects, for example by expanding protected areas, diversifying livelihoods, and works to improve management of pastures, water and forests.